Sunday, 21 June 2020

Acacia sensu lato in East and Southeast Asia

Recent research shows that the formerly broadly circumscribed, genus Acacia is polyphyletic and should be treated as comprising at least 5 genera, namely, Acacia sensu stricto, Acaciella, Mariosousa, Senegalia and Vachellia.

The indigenous Acacia sensu lato in East and Southeast Asia comprise 52 species:

32 species of Senegalia, 12 species of Acacia sensu stricto and 8 species of Vachellia.   

Of all, only 8 species are endemic to Malaysia :  Senegalia borneensis, S. donnaiensis, S. megaladena var. indochinensis, S. pennata subsp. kerrii, S. pluricapitata, S. pseudointsia, S. rugata, and Vachellia leucophloea.


Classification schemes for Acacia sensu lato showing species numbers and major areas of occurrence.


Simplified, computer-generated cladogram of Acacia sensu lato showing five major monophyletic lineages in red.



Saturday, 11 April 2020

SecretGarden of SeriPinang : Cliffhangers

The cliffhangers are super-determined plants that grow on the rubble wall.   The vertical wall of stone is never too harsh for them to colonized.   

Once the plants managed to grow on rubble wall, they should be immediately remove.  Else their root will grow deep into the cracks and hole on the wall.  When the plants grow, so do the roots.  The root will grow in size and eventually ply the hole/crack bigger, till one day when we least expected, the wall collapse.    

To get rid of them is inevitable, especially the Ficus species.

Getting rid of them can be by manual, but I’s a tedious job.  Chemical, as usual, is the best choice.  A broad spectrum herbicide should be sufficient to take care of the job.

Asplenium adiantum

Pteris vittata

Euphorbia hirta

Pilea microphylla

Spermacocoe latifolia

Passiflora suberosa

Ficus religiosa

Praxelis clematidea

Torenia crustacea

Ficus benjamina

Oldenlandia corymbosa

SecretGarden of SeriPinang : Over the Fence

Epipremnum aureum
Epipremnum aureum is native to Mo’orea, in the South Pacific Ocean.  It is a very popular potted plant, but has become naturalized in tropical and sub-tropical forests worldwide.

Dieffenbachia sp.
Dieffenbachia is native to the New World Tropics.    There are about 56 species of Dieffenbachia recorded.    Some species are widely cultivated as ornamental plants, and have been naturalized in tropical regions worldwide.

Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus heterophyllus is known as nangka (jackfruit).  It is originated from the Malesia region.  Immature nangka can be consumed cooked, ripened fruit is a very popular local fruit.

Alocasia macrorrhizos
Alocasia macrorrhizos is originated from the Malesia region.  It’s corm is poisonous but edible if cooked to remove the calcium oxalate.

Musa sp.
Musa includes aroub 70 species of bananas and plantains. Cultivated Musa are sweet and their seeds are tiny.  Some wild Musa are edible, but with bigger seeds, small fruit and less sweet.

Macaranga tanarius
M. tanarius is native to S.E,Asia.  It is a common pioneer species in disturbed land.

Mallotus paniculatus
M. paniculatus is native to S.E,Asia.  It is also a common pioneer species in disturbed land.

 Carica papaya
Papaya originated in the tropics of the Americas.  So unattended stand outside the fence is probably a escaped one.

Dillenia suffruticosa
Dillenia suffruticosa ( simpoh air ) is found throughout tropical S.E.Asia secondary forest.    The big hardy leaves were once used as wrapper for food and fresh produce in market.   

Piper aduncum
Piper aduncum is from tropical America.  Like its cousin in the Piperaceae, P. aduncum has a peppery scent.  It is therefore used as a condiment,

Friday, 10 April 2020

SecretGarden of SeriPinang : Graminoids

Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid ( gasss-like ) monocotyledonous flowering plants known as sedges.   The family consists of some 5,500 known species described in about 90 genera.

Cyperaceae are widely distributed, with center of diversity for the group occurring in tropical Asia and tropical South America.  Sedges may be found growing in almost all environments, from wetlands to poor soils.

Cyperus compressus

Cyperus mindorensis 

Juncaceae are also a family of graminoid ( gasss-like ) monocotyledonous flowering plants known as rushes.   The family consists of some 464 known species described in about 8 genera.

Rushes often grow on infertile soils in a wide range of moisture conditions.

Juncus tenuis

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Melastoma malabathricum : ssp & var

Melastoma malabathricum ( Malay  : Senduduk ) is native to Indomalaya, Japan and Australia. 

Melastoma consist of about 50-70 species distributed all around Old World.  M. malabathricum is divided into 2 subspecies:
M. malabathricum ssp malabathricum
M. malabathricum ssp normale

On rare occasions, M. malabathricum consists of 3 varieties :
• petals with purple-magenta colour
• petals with light-magenta colour
• petals with white colour

M. malabathricum can grow on a wide range of soils : cleared land, waste late, roadside, plantation, etc ; ranging from sea-level up to an altitude of 3000 meters.

M. malabathricum is a hyperaccumulator of aluminium and as such can be used for phytoremediation.

Source :

SecretGarden of SeriPinang : Compositae

Youngia japonica

Cyanthilium cinereum

Praxelis clematidea

Emilia sonchifolia

Friday, 6 March 2020

Acid Sulfate Soil

Acid sulfate soils are naturally occurring soils, sediments or organic substrates (e.g. peat) that are formed under waterlogged conditions.

These soils contain iron sulfide minerals (predominantly as the mineral pyrite) or their oxidation products. In an undisturbed state below the water table, acid sulfate soils are benign.

However, if the soils are drained, excavated or exposed to air by a lowering of the water table, the sulfides react with oxygen to form sulfuric acid.

Release of this sulfuric acid from the soil can in turn release iron, aluminium, and other heavy metals (particularly arsenic) within the soil.

Once mobilized in this way, the acid and metals can create a variety of adverse impacts : killing vegetation, seeping into and acidifying groundwater and surface water bodies, killing fish and other aquatic organisms, and degrading concrete and steel structures to the point of failure.

Chemical reaction

When drained, pyrite- (FeS2) containing soils (also called cat-clays) may become extremely acidic (pH < 4) due to the oxidation of pyrite into sulfuric acid (H2SO4)..

2FeS2 + 9O2 + 4H2O 8H+ + 4SO42- + 2Fe(OH)3

Fe(OH)3, iron(III) hydroxide (orange), precipitates as a solid, insoluble mineral by which the alkalinity component is immobilized, while the acidity remains active in the sulfuric acid.

The process of acidification is accompanied by the formation of high amounts of aluminium (Al3+, released from clay minerals under influence of the acidity), which are harmful to vegetation.

Other products of the chemical reaction are:
1. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a smelly gas
2. Sulfur (S), a yellow solid
3. Iron(II) sulfide (FeS), a black/gray/blue solid
4. Hematite (Fe2O3), a red solid
5. Goethite (FeO.OH), a brown mineral
6. Schwertmannite, a brown mineral
7. Iron sulfate compounds (e.g. jarosite)

8. H-Clay (hydrogen clay, with a large fraction of adsorbed H+ ions, a stable mineral, but poor in nutrients)

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Wild Ficus of Seremban

 Ficus subpisocarpa

Ficus subpisocarpa ( called 笔管榕 in China and 雀榕 in Taiwan ) is a species of small deciduous tree native to Japan, China, Taiwan and southeast Asia to the Moluccas.  The figs are ramiflorous, that is the fruit grow on the branches.

Two subspecies are recognized  : pubipoda and  subpisocarpa

Ants predominantly of the genus Crematogaster have been recorded living in stem cavities. Ficus subpisocarpa is pollinated by Platyscapa ishiiana (Agaonidae).

Ficus hispida

Ficus hispida ( 对叶榕 ) is a small but well distributed species of tropical fig tree. It occurs in many parts of Asia and as far south east as Australia.   An unusual feature is the figs which hang on long stems.

Two subspecies are recognized  : rubra and  badistrigosa

In Australia the fruit are eaten by cassowaries and double-eyed fig parrots. Phayre's leaf monkey feeds on the leaves as do the larvae of the moth Melanocercops ficuvorella. The fig wasp Apocrypta bakeri has F. hispida as its host, where it parasitizes the other fig wasp Ceratosolen solmsi.

 Ficus grossularioides

Two varieties are recognized  : stenoloba and  kingii .

Young shoots are eaten raw; decoctions of leaves are used to treat kidney complaints.  Latex is used against scorpion bites.

Bouea oppositifolia - kundang

Bouea angustifolia Bl.
Bouea brandisiana Kurz
Bouea burmanica Griff.
Bouea burmanica var. kurzii Lecomte
Bouea burmanica var. microphylla (Griff) Engl.
Bouea burmanica var. roxburghii Lecomte
Bouea diversifolia Miq.
Bouea gandaria Blume
Bouea microphylla Griff.
Bouea myrsinoides Bl.
Cambessedea oppositifolia (Roxb.) Wight & Arn. ex Voigt
Haplospondias brandisiana (Kurz) Kosterm.
Manga acida Noronha
Mangifera oppositifolia Roxb.
Mangifera oppositifolia var. microphylla (Griff.) Merr.
Mangifera oppositifolia var. roxburghii (Pierre) Tard.
Matania laotica Gagnep.

Fruits are edible and are sometimes made into preserve when in a half ripe state. The durable, hard timber is used for various purposes.

Southern China, Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, Andaman Islands, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java; Borneo.

Local names
Borneo: asam djanar, bandjar, kedjauw lepang, tampusu, ramania pipit, umpas.
Indonesia: Asam djanar; Bandjar; Kedjauw lepang; Kundang rumania; Ramania hutan; Ramania pipit; Rengas; Tampusu; Tolok burung; Umpas.
Malay Peninsula: gemia, kemiinia, kimdang, kiidang rumenia, merapoh rumenia, poko rummiyah, rambainyia, ramimia, romaniah, rumboi-nigor, rumenia, rumia.
Sumatra: kaju-rusun, kunangan, raman burung, raman padi, raman utan, rieden daun, gandaria, raman, iiris, iirisan.